Leadership

Thomas E. Hassan, President
Thomas E. Hassan joined SYA in June 2016 and brings more than 35 years of educational experience to his new role, including three years as an SYA board member. As the former Principal of Phillips Exeter Academy (NH), he served in many capacities during his 26-year tenure, including as math instructor, director of college counseling, director of admissions, assistant principal, acting principal and principal. Prior to Exeter, Hassan worked at Brown and Harvard Universities as well as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Under Hassan's direction, Exeter became a leader in efforts to further global outreach programs for students and faculty. A graduate of Brown University (RI), Hassan earned his MA and Ed.D degrees at Harvard University (MA).

Dr. Aric J. Visser, Head of Schools and Programs

Dr. Aric J. Visser assumed the role of Head of Schools and Programs in 2017 after serving for three years as SYA’s Director of Curriculum. Prior to this, Visser served in a number of roles including instructor of the Joven Erasmus program in Zaragoza, College Counselor in Rennes, and as an independent researcher looking at the impact of SYA's programs on students abroad. Visser brings vast experience in international education to SYA, as well as a deep commitment and investment in SYA’s mission. He has worked with students on five continents and regularly speaks on topics of international education and creativity at education conferences around the world. Visser earned a B.A. in Spanish, Journalism and Telecommunications and Film from Eastern Michigan University and received his PhD from the University of Zaragoza in Spain. His doctoral dissertation, “Study Abroad on Purpose: Promoting student growth in intercultural competence and creativity,” focused on a multi-year study of the social and educational impacts of SYA programs abroad.

Dr. Elizabeth Evans, Resident Director, SYA France

Dr. Elizabeth Evans joins SYA with considerable experience in the diverse roles of administrator, professor, teacher, researcher, published author, and curriculum designer. Evans brings 25 years of experience teaching French language and culture at both the K-12 and university levels. She most recently served as Assistant Professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where she taught French and methods of foreign language teaching, and served as the coordinator of the world language teacher education program. Evans is extensively involved in service to the field of foreign language teaching and learning, including work with the Advanced Placement (AP) French Language and Culture exam, and has presented at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) seven times since 2008. She holds a Ph.D. in Foreign Language and ESL Education from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in French Literature from the University of Colorado, and a B.A. in French Studies from the University at Albany, SUNY.

Eileen Kelly-Aguirre, Interim Resident Director, SYA Spain

Eileen Kelly-Aguirre joined SYA in August 2014 and served as Executive Director of SYA for three years. During this time, Kelly-Aguirre fortified SYA’s strategic position through multiple initiatives, including leading SYA through a successful accreditation update; refreshing and updating SYA’s mission statement; creating and filling a Curriculum Director position; and strengthening ties with related professional organizations. Prior to joining SYA, Kelly-Aguirre served as the Assistant and then Associate Head at The Gunnery (CT), where she served as an administrator for almost almost two decades. Prior to her work at The Gunnery she served as Assistant Director of Middlebury in Madrid, spending the school year supporting undergraduate, graduate students and faculty while abroad, and the summers working for the Middlebury Spanish School in Vermont. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Kelly-Aguirre earned her MA from Middlebury College (VT) and completed coursework for a PhD in Educational Leadership at Central Connecticut State University.

John McLoughlin, Interim Resident Director, SYA China

John McLoughlin joined SYA in 1996, and has since served in multiple capacities, including as SYA China Resident Director from 1996-1999, and then as the SYA China Summer Program Director starting in 2014. McLoughlin joined as Interim Resident Director in 2017, bringing over 30 years of teaching experience and extensive experience in China. Over the course of his career, McLoughlin has taught at the Peoples University of China, Boston College High School, and Brooks School. McLoughlin is currently on leave from Brooks School, where he taught history and served as the Director of Exchange Programs. A graduate of Tufts University in International Relations, McLoughlin received his Certificate of Advanced Study in Chinese Language while studying at Beijing First Foreign Languages Institute. McLoughlin went on to receive his MAT in History/ Education from Boston College.

Patrick Scanlon, Resident Director, SYA Italy

Patrick Scanlon joined SYA Italy in 2002 serving as the English teacher and college counselor for two years. In 2005 he became the Resident Director, a post he held until 2015 before taking a sabbatical year. He recently returned for the 2016-2017 academic year. After college, he spent three years teaching English and perfecting his Italian-language skills in Milan, Florence and Crans su Sierre, Switzerland. Following this, he taught chemistry, general science and English at Albuquerque Academy for 16 years prior to joining SYA Italy. Scanlon earned his BA and MA degrees at the University of New Mexico and St. John's College (NM), respectively.